S&W Pepper House (Crystal Mall)

Yup, it was time for our usual North Road Korean food adventures with Big D and Slick again.  So I fired off an email asking which restaurant we'd hit this time around, but *gasp*, Big D didn't want to eat anywhere near North Road.  Why???  He thought all of the remaining places were pretty mediocre and thought we should explore other options.  Aiya!  What now? Okay, we needed something interesting and impactful.  Something that would really tickle our tastebuds...  Aha!  S&W Pepper House in Crystal Mall.  Oh no...  Crystal Mall!  AND...  The Save-On parking lot was closed as well...  Noooooo....  My only hope, the Burnaby Public Library.  Yes, we really shouldn't take up the parking spots, but there was no way I'd enter the circle parking lot of confusion!  Big D hates the lot so much, he'd rather pay park...

After securing safe parking spots for our cars, we arrived at the restaurant and ordered 4 items off the lunch menu and 1 off the regular menu.  Yes, 5 dishes for 3 people.  Mijune would be proud.  We started with the Guo Qiao Rice Noodles.  Literally translated, these "crossing the bridge noodles" usually consist of ingredients that were not found in this version.  Whatever the case, broth was mild, yet flavourful with depth and body while the lai fun had a good bite.  Before it even hit the table, we could smell the arrival of the Cumin Lamb which elicited a response from our salivary glands.  One bite and we were hooked.  The cumin (I'm refraining from making a joke here...) was strong, but not too strong while there was a balanced level of spice.  Moreover, the lamb was not dry as well as not be overly gamy.

Unlike Americanized versions of Kung Pao Chicken, this was nothing but.  The chicken was moist while the peanuts were crunchy.  Once again, the spice level was just right as we could taste the tang and savouriness of the rest of the flavours. There was one item that I originally forgot to order and thankfully I remembered because it rocked. The Sliced Pork Belly with garlic sauce was money.  The thin slices were warm, but did not fall apart when picked up with our chopsticks.  Naturally, it was fatty, but not overly so.  The meat practically needed no chewing at all.  Most importantly, it was bathed in a sauce that had the right combination of chili oil, garlic, chili flakes, vinegar and soy.  Very tasty.

Lastly, we had the Shredded Pork with garlic & chili sauce was also solid as the julienned meat was tender.  It was accented by crunchy wood ear mushrooms and again had a balanced spice level.  After it was all said and done, Big D and Slick were impressed with the food.  In fact, they wanted to return for more in the near future, especially for the pork belly.  Great.  Crystal Mall again...  Maybe I'll take transit next time.

The Good:
- Balanced flavours including spice level
- Well-priced
- Decent service

The Bad:
- Small place means cramped and probably a wait
- Do I even have to mention the parking lot?

S&W Pepper House 西南風 on Urbanspoon

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